If you’re looking to celebrate the Day of Dead (El Día de los Muertos) on 2 November here in Singapore, let us help you observe it in true traditional and colourful Mexican style!
Although this lively Mexican holiday honours death and the souls of deceased relatives, it’s not a time of mourning. It’s a cultural fiesta full of traditions which believes that during this time the border between the spirit world and the real world dissolves. With the gates of heaven briefly opened, the souls of cherished loved ones reunite with their family in the living world to feast, drink, dance and play music!
Apart from featuring lots of skulls (calaveras) and skeletons (calacas), it’s nothing like Halloween. So forget witchcraft and trick or treating - a proper Day of the Dead festival is all about remembering the dead and celebrating their life!
Here’s what you can do to enjoy this memorable Mexican holiday:
- Create an Ofrenda (home altar) to honor your departed family member. Use a white or brightly colored cloth and decorate it with vibrant yellow marigold flowers, candles, incense, photos of the departed, along with their favorite foods and drink.
- Feast on the favorite dishes and food of your honoured loved ones to encourage them to visit you from the land of the dead.
- Make certain you have enough fresh seasonal fruits.
- Wear a skull mask or paint your face as a skull.
- Enjoy Pan de Muertos, the traditional sweet baked good of Day of the Dead celebrations. It’s a traditional bread scented with orange peel and anise seed, topped with crossed bones made of dough.
- Drink hot chocolate or coffee - the favourite of the spirits of the dead. Or serve atole (a hot corn-based beverage) for the souls of children. Alternatively, for an alcoholic option, Mexicans drink beer, tequila and mezcal.
- Wish others a happy Day of the Dead by saying, “Feliz día de los Muertos.”
- Visit, clean and decorate the graves of your loved ones.
With revellers in towns across Mexico wearing funky make-up and costumes and making offerings to loved ones, why not join in the fun with your own party fun at home!